A 7-year-old boy died Friday morning after he was struck by a delivery truck in the parking lot of a Redondo Beach supermarket, police said.
The incident occurred at 10:20 a.m. near the loading dock of the Albertsons store at Rindge Lane and Artesia Boulevard.
The boy, who was riding a bicycle at the time, suffered severe head trauma and was taken to a nearby hospital, police said. It was unclear whether he died at the scene or at the hospital.
Authorities did not release the name of the boy, who is the son of a store employee and lived nearby. NBC-4 identified him as Jeremy Perez.
"He was an outgoing young man," neighbor Gregory Berdin told the news station. "He was a breath of fresh air, always happy, a dynamite kind of a kid."
As police investigated the incident, a sandal and a broken pair of bicycle handlebars rested under the truck's cab.
"The family is obviously going to be distraught," said Redondo Beach police Sgt. Shawn Freeman. "They're going to have questions - How did this happen? Why did this happen? That's our job, to try and help the family answer those questions. Everybody is distraught. This is a horrible thing to happen."
Freeman said the driver was maneuvering in the loading dock area and was likely in reverse when the boy was struck. He said authorities are treating the death as a an accident.
The grocery chain said in a statement that it is "thoroughly investigating" the incident and would "assist both the authorities and the family in any way we can going forward.
"Today a tragic accident occurred involving the child of one of our store associates," the statement said. "We extend our deepest sympathy to this associate and their family."
The market remained opened throughout the day as police investigated and news crews set up equipment in the parking lot.
As neighbors in the area watched the activity Friday afternoon, some wondered whether Albertsons should fill in a gap in a short block wall that separates its parking lot from Mathews Avenue, which runs behind it.
They said many people use the divide as a shortcut from their homes to the store, as the boy apparently did while riding his bicycle.
"Constantly ... there's always adults and kids bolting across that lot," said Pete Paguyo, who lives on Mathews and used to work at the market. "The trucks pull in and they park here for a while."
"It is really sad. I feel bad for the mom," Paguyo said, "but also for the truck driver because it is hard to see with those mirrors."
Albertsons spokeswoman Lilia Rodriguez said the grocer would make grief counselors available to employees in need of assistance.